Summer is coming...
The summer season usually brings warm thoughts of beach or lake outings, playground dates, outdoor sports, and lots of sunshine. But not this year. Summer camps, playdates, babysitting, and summer school sessions are cancelled until further notice. This looming summer season is instead sending chills down the spines of many unemployed and furloughed parents of school-aged children as they realize that their kids will be home with NOTHING TO DO, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY, until further notice. And if you’re one of these parents, you’ll soon have to add “summer activities director” to your list of responsibilities.
Managing your kids’ day can become even more challenging once the structure of their remote school activities is gone. And although it may be somewhat difficult at first, the following tips can help you deal with the impending changes that lie ahead, and make the coming summer weeks a bit more manageable.
SCHEDULE, SCHEDULE, SCHEDULE
Kids thrive on predictability and regularity. Planning your day in advance the night before will be your greatest tool for success. Try to mimic the current remote school schedule as much as possible. Nap times, lunch breaks, and other activities can continue as planned, but with you leading the way. Seek help from teachers now, while they’re still available, and most of all, keep the next tip in mind at all times.
When the wheels fall off the bus and the toddler’s tantrum rears its ugly head, when the young child cannot sit still for another minute, when the tween’s eyes are glazed over and they keep saying that they’re bored, TAKE A BREAK. Play a quick card/board game, throw a ball outside if you have a yard, or go take a short walk around your building if you don’t; maybe all they want is your company for a few minutes. Don’t be too hard on yourself when things get out of control, and remember that your mental health and happiness are ultimately the keys to everyone’s wellbeing at home.
TECHNOLOGY CAN BE YOUR FRIEND
Sitting your kids in front of a device for long stretches each day would normally be considered “lazy” parenting. But these are far-from-normal times, and not all TV shows and Internet offerings are created equal. It’s ok to loosen the reins a bit right now. With a little searching, you’ll find a wide variety of (mostly free!) content out there that will educate and entertain children simultaneously. We’ve all heard the phrase, “there’s an app for that,” and now more than ever, that’s certainly the case.
Yes, good old-fashioned audiobooks are a great way to keep kids entertained for hours. A good narrator who really acts out the material can grab anyone’s attention quickly, including kids. Many leading audiobook companies are offering free titles for kids while social distancing guidelines remain in place, which makes this a great activity to try at no cost. (Grab one for yourself while you’re at it. Doing dishes while “reading” is so much more fun!)
MAKE SOME MONEY WHILE KIDS ARE ENTERTAINED
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